Courses

Spring 2015 Course Descriptions

(M) = Methodologically focused course

PS 011 Introduction to American Politics – Deborah Schildkraut
Block F+ (TTh 12-1:15)
A study of governmental politics, functions, and programs. Emphasis given to political behavior, both at the mass level and in institutions. Survey of public opinion and political culture, parties, and elections, congress, the presidency, the bureaucracy, the federal courts, and interest groups. PS 011 also has a mandatory recitation; please see SIS for details.

PS 021 Introduction to Comparative Politics – Nimah Mazaheri
Block J+ (TTh 3-4:15)
Theories and evidence in comparative politics, preparing students for upper-level courses that focus on specific regions, countries, and themes. Examination and evaluation of competing theoretical approaches to important phenomena in world politics, including democracy and democratization; revolutions; economic development; and ethnicity and ethnic conflict. Discussion of illustrative examples from different regions such as Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia, East Asia, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. PS 021 also has a mandatory recitation; please see SIS for details.

PS 042 Western Political Thought II – Robert Devigne
Block H+ (TTh 1:30-2:45)
Central concepts of modern political thought. The views of those writers who launched the Enlightenment and challenged Christianity: Descartes, Hobbes, and others, an outlook centered on humanity taking responsibility for human fate, while establishing freedom and equality as the highest goals. The alternative views on the meaning of liberty and justice as developed by Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx, and how this set the stage for protracted conflict within Western civilization for over two centuries. Among other topics explored: Mill's goal to reconcile the Enlightenment and its critics; Tocqueville's examination of American democracy; Nietzsche's indictment of modernity; assessment as to whether present Western thought is at peak or in atrophy. Throughout the course, we will particularly focus on the debate that continues to animate modern political philosophy: the nature and requisites of human liberty.

PS 061 Introduction to International Relations – Richard Eichenberg
Block E+ (MW 10:30-11:45)
Examination of several conceptual designs intended to make order out of the essential anarchy in international relations, from a theoretical assessment of the nation-state and the nature of national power to an exploration of behavior among nation-states, including the ultimate problem of war and peace and an appraisal of the factors that give an age its particular characteristics. PS 061 also has a mandatory recitation; please see SIS for details.

PS 099 Fieldwork in Politics – Shin Fujihira
ARR
Internship placements with such employers as legislators, campaigns, news media, lobbies, law firms, and administrative agencies. Twelve to fifteen hours of work per week. Written assignments, with supporting readings, on organizational structure, goals and strategies, and occupational socialization.

PS 100 Seminar: Politics of U.S. Immigration Policy – Natalie Masuoka
Block 12 (W 6:30-9)
The U.S. is in the midst of the most significant influx of immigrants in its history. More than one in ten Americans is foreign born, and together with their children make up almost a quarter of the U.S. population. How will these newcomers impact the form and function of American democracy? This course will address the question: what are the political causes and consequences of immigration policy on American politics? We will review the history of immigration policy in the U.S., identify the processes of immigrant political incorporation, as well as consider competing perspectives on contemporary topics such as undocumented immigration.

PS 102 Congress, Bureaucracy, and Public Policy – Jeff Berry
Block G+ (MW 1:30-2:45)
The focus of this course is on the national policy-making process. Examination of such topics as agenda building, the relationship between congressional elections and public policy outcomes, legislative process, congressional-agency relations, bureaucratic politics, and program implementation. Recommendations: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

PS 103 Political Science Research Methods (M) – Natalie Masuoka
Block K+ (MW 4:30-5:45)
The study of quantitative methods for investigating political issues and policy controversies. Focuses on collecting, analyzing, and presenting data. Emphasizes hands-on computer software training that provides useful skills for academic and professional settings. Topics covered include: measurement, hypothesis development, survey design, experiments, content analysis, significance tests, correlation, and regression. No prior statistics background necessary. Recommendations: PS 11, 21, 45, 46, or 61. A methodologically focused course. For Spring 2015 semester, half of the student enrollment will be reserved for sophomores and half will be open to all undergraduates.

PS 104 Seminar: New Media, New Politics (M) – Jeff Berry
Block 0 (M 9-11:30)
Research seminar on three media sectors: cable television, talk radio, and the political blogosphere. Analysis of the economic foundations of each, advertising, audience demographics, and program strategy. Student teams will conduct an original empirical study of new media.

PS 105
Constitutional Law – Teresa Walsh
Block K+ (MW 4:30-5:45)
In this survey course we study constitutionally based arguments and United States Supreme Court decisions of the law of democracy and the legal structure of the political process. We study cases that resolve questions about the powers and limits of government in the United States. We pay particular attention to the U.S. Supreme Court, constitutional structure, the development of national power, the executive, the right to privacy, civil liberties and civil rights.

PS 118-06 Topics in American Politics: Community Organizing – Daniel LeBlanc
Block 8 (Th 1:30-4)
The course focuses on both the history and context of community organizing practice in the United States, as well as on the concrete skills and practices utilized by community organizers in their work. The history and context components will trace community organizing work to some of its early form in the early 20th century, including the community-based work pioneered by Saul Alinsky in Chicago in the 1930s and 40s, as well as drawing connections between community organizing and other movements, including labor, civil rights, environment and others. The skills and practices explored will include the central roles of one-on-one relationship building, power analysis, community leadership identification and cultivation, and campaign strategy development and execution. The course will include presentations and discussions with Boston area community organizers with decades of experience, as well opportunities to visit with and observe local community-based organizations in practice.

PS 118-07 Topics in American Politics: First Amendment Law – Teresa Walsh
Block D+ (TTh 10:30-11:45)
In this survey course we study constitutionally based arguments and United States Supreme Court decisions resolving the free exercise of religion and expression guarantees of the First Amendment. We pay particular attention to the religious establishment and free exercise clause; the freedom of speech, assembly, association and freedom of the press. We touch on emerging areas of government regulation and new technologies.

PS 120 Seminar: Power and Politics in China – Elizabeth Remick
Block 7 (W 1:30-4)
Advanced seminar on sources of political power and resistance in post-Mao Chinese politics. Debates in recent research over state strength, origins of political reform, development of civil society, prospects for democratization, corruption, censorship, religion, and protest. Please see departmental website for specific details. Recommendations: PS 126 or HIST 44, or permission of instructor.

PS 124 Seminar: Comparative Political Economy Of Advanced Industrial Democracies (M) – Shin Fujihira
Block 10 (M 6:30-9)
Examines the political foundations of capitalism in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Topics include: Keynesianism and monetarism, neoliberalism and partisan governments, interest group politics, central banks and monetary policy, welfare states, corporate governance, financial and labor markets, industrial policy and technological innovation, taxation and redistribution, class and gender inequality, and immigration.

PS 129 African Politics – Pearl Robinson
Block I+ (MW 3-4:15)
Analysis of political developments in contemporary Africa, with emphasis on the interaction between politics and culture. Relates Africa's historical, economic, social, and gender dynamics to general theories of politics and governance. Prerequisite: Sophomore Standing

PS 130 Seminar: African Political Economy (M) – Pearl Robinson
Block 8+ (Th 1:20-4:20)
Theories explaining the impact of political institutions on African economies. Questions include: Why has sustainable development been so illusive? What are the determinants of state-business relationships in economic policy-making in the neo-liberal era? How does the quality of governance affect issues of poverty and redistribution? Can gender-targeted strategies turn the tide of poor economic performance? We follow shifts in development thinking, the leverage of foreign interests, and the relationship between ideas and economic policy-making in Africa over the last half-century. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or approval of Instructor.

PS 134 Comparative Politics of the Middle East – Malik Mufti
Block E+ (MW 10:30-11:45)
This survey course looks at the political development of the Arab states, Turkey, and Iran since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War I. It analyzes the various factors that shape the political institutions, actors, and ideologies of these states – factors such as history, culture, religion, economics, and foreign intervention – and tries to reach some conclusions about the prospects for future socio-economic and political change, including liberalization, in the Muslim Middle East. As such, the course seeks to provide students with an empirically rich regional case study of some of the central concerns of comparative politics theory in general.

PS 138-02 Topics in Comparative Politics: Political Violence in State & Society – Consuelo Cruz
Block P+ (MW 7:30-8:45)
This course examines the varieties in form and scale of political violence. It also assesses salient theories that aim to explain or trace the origins and logic of such violence. Finally, the course tests these theories against empirical cases mainly drawn from the Latin American experience.

PS 138-14 Topics in Comparative Politics: Making States: Theory and Practice – Consuelo Cruz
Block M+ (MW 6-7:15)
What are states? How are they built? What determines variations in their character and strength? We address these questions by a) closely examining key selections from the theoretical literature on the state, and b) probing major empirical cases from different regions of the world.

PS 139-06 Seminar in Comparative Politics: Poverty and Public Policy – Nimah Mazaheri
Block 11+ (T 6-9)
Over 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty. This seminar examines why poverty persists and what governments can do about it. Key topics include the causes and consequences of poverty, how governments measure poverty and characterize the poor, and the types of solutions available to governments and international organizations for reducing poverty. We also examine how political and economic dynamics shape policy responses to poverty. Other subjects covered are inequality, collective action, the informal economy, and unemployment.

PS 142 Ethics and International Relations – Kelly Greenhill and Ioannis Evrigenis
Block E+ (MW 10:30-11:45)
Nowhere does the uneasy relationship between politics and morality become more clear than in international relations. Does justice extend beyond the borders of states? Is it ever permissible to kill, even if it is in defense of one's country? Are there human rights, and, if so, how far should one go to protect them? Ought one feel responsible for poverty on the other side of the world? We will examine some of the most challenging moral dilemmas in international relations, and consider some of the most important responses to them, in an attempt to determine the extent of our duties.

PS 144 The Meaning of America – Dennis Rasmussen
Block J+ (TTh 3-4:15)
Examination of American political thought, concentrating on the founding debate, the development of Lincoln's thought and the Civil War, and Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. Topics include the Puritan origins of America, the meaning and relationship of our founding documents, the challenges posed by the Anti-Federalists, the defense of the large republic in The Federalist, the role of religion in American life, the problems presented by slavery, the proper role of a democratic statesman, and Tocqueville's hopes and worries about liberal democratic society and government (especially its American variant).

PS 148 Seminar: Political Thought of Montesquieu – Vickie Sullivan
Block 2 (W 9-11:30)
Montesquieu is a foundational thinker in both political science and international relations. He is the first philosopher to regard commerce as a fit topic for philosophic inquiry. Because he insisted that the expansion of commerce in the world would encourage peaceful interactions among nations, he is an important source for the liberal school of international relations. In addition, Montesquieu is often referred to as the first modern student of comparative politics. He examines not only European states such as England and France, but also China, Japan, Turkey, and Persia. In this way, the study of Montesquieu deepens one's knowledge of the political history of the world. Finally, he is the source for important tenets of liberalism such as the rule of law and the separation of powers. Thus, an understanding of Montesquieu contributes to the contemporary discussion surrounding democratization.

This course examines Montesquieu's political thought as it emerges through his comparative analysis of political regimes in his major work Spirit of the Laws. Themes include the principles that guide tyranny, monarchy, and republican government; the principle of separation of powers; the meaning of political liberty; the impact of commerce on political life; the relation of mores to laws; the extent to which political regimes affect human possibility; and the character of Montesquieu's liberalism. His other works, including The Persian Letters and Considerations on the Greatness of the Romans and Their Decline, may also be considered.

Recommendation: PS 41, 42, or permission of instructor.

PS 150 Plato's Socrates – Ioannis Evrigenis
Block I+ (MW 3-4:15)
Faced with a death sentence, Socrates claimed that even the fear of death could not prevent him from doing what is right, offering as proof not words, but deeds. Taking Socrates' distinction between words and deeds as our starting point, and focusing on the relationship between the arguments and the action, we will study the Laches, Symposium, Meno, Protagoras, and Republic, as well as the works recounting his last days, in an attempt to understand Plato's Socrates and his views regarding knowledge, virtue, justice, courage, and the care of one's soul.

PS 157 Seminar: Markets, Morals, and Religion: The Political Theory of David Hume and Adam Smith – Dennis Rasmussen
Block 1 (T 9-11:30)
Examination of two leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment who happened to be best friends: David Hume, who is widely considered the greatest philosopher ever to write in the English language, and Adam Smith, who is almost certainly history's most famous theorist of commercial society. Analysis and comparison of their views of reason, morality, politics, commerce, religion, and the good life. Readings focus on Hume's Enquiries and Essays and Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations.
Prerequisites: PS 41 or PS 42 or instructor consent.

PS 158-09 Rise and Decay of the West – Robert Devigne
Block N+ (TTh 6-7:15)
Literature that examines whether the modern West will avoid the fate of all previous civilizations of world historical significance: decay and/or fall. Among the topics explored: the charge that the arts and sciences erode social cohesion; the argument that the Western technological mind promotes "enfeeblement of the spirit;" the idea that modernity marks the peak or "end of history;" the position that modern Western values necessarily lead to a nihilistic crisis of beliefs. Throughout the course, there will be comparisons between the modern West and Persia, Greece, Rome, and Christendom and analysis of corruption as a source of individualism, cultural development, and philosophy. Readings include Rousseau, Hegel, Nietzsche, Tocqueville, Heidegger, Strauss, Schmitt.

PS 168 International Law – Deepti Jayakrishnan
(T 2:00-4:20)
The function of international law in the international community and its relation to international politics, with special emphasis on the nature of the legal process.

PS 184 Seminar: Better Than The Truth: Extrafactual Information in International Politics (M) – Kelly Greenhill
Block 10+ (M 6-9)
This senior seminar examines the sources, manipulation and consequences of unverified and unverifiable information in international politics, with a particular focus on the influence of such information on the formulation and conduct of foreign and defense policy. The employment and exploitation of various organizations and techniques for influencing domestic and foreign audiences will be examined through the use of case studies and analyzed in terms of both theory and practice. Sources to be examined include rumors, conspiracy theories, entertainment media, propaganda and myths.

PS 188-03 Topics in IR: Gender Issues in World Politics – Richard Eichenberg
Block I+ (MW 3-4:15)
This course is a survey of many issues relating to gender in world politics, with a particular emphasis on: gender differences in political attitudes and behavior generally; gender differences in attitudes toward war and national security in particular; the cross-cultural uniformity (or lack thereof) in gender differences in attitudes and political behavior, particularly in relation to national security and war; the role of gender differences in war, in particular how gender roles are created and the effect of war on men and women; violence against women; and the role of gender in world affairs more generally and specifically the role of gender in economic development, environmental sustainability and gender mainstreaming within international institutions.

PS 188-12 Topics in IR: Chinese Foreign Policy – Michael Beckley
Block J+ (TTh 3-4:15)
China has the world's largest military and the second largest economy. Despite its impressive size and economic vitality, however, China remains a vulnerable nation surrounded by powerful rivals. This course examines the geo-strategic challenges facing China on four fronts: at home, with its immediate neighbors, in surrounding regional systems, and in the world beyond Asia.

PS 188-19 Topics in IR: Human Rights and American Foreign Policy – Katrina Swett
Block 7+ (W 1:20-4:20)
Fundamental notions of universal human rights are deeply embedded in American history and its sense of national identity. Much of the early writing and debate about the moral foundations of the nation suggest that Americans viewed themselves as a righteous template after which the rest of the world should pattern itself. However America's self-image and and its implications for US foreign policy became more relevant in the 20th century when America emerged as a major player on the world stage. Particularly in the post World War II period, the US played a pivotal role in establishing universal human rights as a key organizing principle for the new world order. This course will examine the role that human rights have played in American foreign policy and the cross currents, contradictions and inconsistencies that have emerged. We will look at these issues both historically and in the current context , examining topics ranging from enhanced interrogation techniques ( torture) employed by the Bush administration to the challenges posed by violent extremist groups such as ISIS to the international architecture of human rights

PS 188-20 Topics in IR: Environmental Negotiations – Andrew Tirrell
Block 3 (Th 9-11:30)
An introduction to the history and current application of environmental negotiations in response to complex environmental challenges. Students will study both the theory behind varied approaches to negotiating environmental agreements and the international and domestic systems through which such negotiations take place. The course combines both traditional seminar discussions and hands-on activities such as negotiation simulations. Cross-listed with ENV 152.

PS 188-22 Topics in IR: Transnational Security Challenges: EU versus US Policy Responses – Irina Chindea
Block K+ (MW 4:30-5:45)
In today's global environment, massive flows of illegal immigrants, violent non-state actors (e.g., terrorist and criminal networks) and cyber-insurgents and activists pose transnational, non-traditional security challenges undermining the ability of state institutions to govern in countries all over the world. In this context, this course surveys the ways in which illegal immigrants, violent non-state actors and cyber-criminals have an impact on domestic, regional and international security, and discusses - in comparative perspective - the policy responses of the European Union and the United States to these challenges. The course aims to establish whether the European Union has a coherent common security and defense policy vis-à-vis both traditional and transnational security threats; the extent to which the EU is a credible security and foreign policy actor in the international arena; and whether EU institutions have the ability to respond to and withstand the manifold transnational security challenges of the 21st century. In answering these questions, we will trace the way EU institutions have responded to traditional and transnational security threats since the inception of the European integration project until the present; and how the EU responses compare to those of the United States in the face of similar transnational and non-conventional threats as well as international crises such as the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, the Arab Spring, the civil war in Syria, the situation in Ukraine, the rise in power of drug cartels, terrorist organizations as Al Qaeda and ISIS and cyber activist groups (e.g., Anonymous).

PS 188-26 Topics in IR: Europe's Role in World Politics – Kostas Lavdas
Block D+ (TTh 10:30-11:45)
As Europe goes through a fascinating period of crisis, change and possible new directions, this course asks the fundamental questions about the EU's role in international politics. It provides an accessible but wide-ranging introduction to the international dimensions of the process of European integration and to today's role of the EU as an international actor. The course aims to familiarize students with the role of the European Union in today's world politics, while at the same time providing an introduction to the international and security-related aspects that influenced the historical process of European integration. What sort of capabilities does the EU possess for international engagement in missions and operations (peacekeeping missions, disarmament operations, humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and assistance, conflict prevention and peace-keeping, and the general tasks of combat forces in crisis management)? Topics will include NATO and Euro-Atlantic relations, the role of European international relations in the development of common European foreign policy initiatives, the evolution of European foreign, security and defense policies (from the WEU and the EPC to the CFSP and the ESDP), the role of Europe in the management of regional crises, the role of Europe in the global war on terror.

PS 189-19 American Primacy – Michael Beckley
Block 11 (T 6:30-9)
The United States is the world's only superpower. Will this period of American primacy last? This course reviews the major threats to American power and evaluates how the United States can overcome them.

PS 199 Senior Honors Thesis (M) – Natalie Masuoka
ARR

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